Protecting the "Snow Mountain Oil Dragon"

   reporter Zhou Lin

with his life

  The Kunlun Pass in midsummer still feels a little bit chilly.

On July 17, the reporter went to the fourth squadron of a certain pipeline brigade of the Qinghai-Tibet Military Depot to interview and saw that although the sun was shining outside, the barracks were still powered by floor heating and other heating equipment.

  "This is an alpine region with an altitude of 4,800 meters. The temperature in winter is as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius. Heating equipment is needed even in the summer." In the camp at the foot of the Yuzhu Peak snow mountain, Li Mingtao, the leader of the pipeline brigade opened the chatterbox.

  For more than 60 years, three major arteries have played an important role in promoting the economic and social development of Tibet. They are the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, the Golmud-Lhasa oil pipeline and the "Lanzhou-Xining-Lhasa" optical cable communication line.

Among them, the Golmud-Lhasa oil pipeline, which is responsible for Tibet's energy security, is particularly special.

"The Gera pipeline is the world's highest altitude and most difficult to maintain fixed pipeline for the transportation of refined oil." Li Mingtao said.

  The Gera pipeline was constructed in May 1972 by the Qinghai-Tibet Military Depot and was completed in October 1977.

The pipeline is laid along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway with a total length of 1,080 kilometers. More than 900 kilometers of the pipeline are located in severe cold areas above 4000 meters above sea level. More than 560 kilometers of the pipeline are laid in the perennial tundra, over 10 large mountains and 108 rivers.

After the pipeline was opened, it had undertaken more than 80% of the oil transportation tasks into the reservoir, and the oil shortage era in Tibet has never returned.

  Cui Xinze, the third-level sergeant commander who had been in the Gela pipeline for 20 years, recalled: "When I first took part in the maintenance mission, most of the roadsides in Golmud were adobe houses. I used it every time I saw the construction of the oil pipeline displayed in the historical archives. With hammers and shovels, and old cotton coats with cotton wool exposed, admiration will spontaneously arise. This oil pipeline laid in the "Life Forbidden Zone" was built by more than 10,000 PLA ​​commanders and local engineers and technicians that year. of."

  It is not easy to build a pipeline, but it is even more difficult to protect the pipeline.

Li Mingtao said: "The brigade is located at an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters, and the highest point is nearly 5,000 meters above sea level. The oxygen content of the air is less than half of the inland. The average annual temperature is minus 6 degrees Celsius. The strong winds above 8 are more than 120 days. The natural environment is very poor. The difficulty of daily management can be imagined."

  During the emergency repair of oil pipelines, "welding with oil" is extremely dangerous, and a slight improper operation may cause an explosion.

In order to master this technology, Cui Xinze found non-flash-prone diesel oil for repeated experiments-sitting on snow-covered metal equipment in winter; in summer holding a welding torch to endure high-temperature baking, and sometimes working in a stuffy oil storage tank.

After repeated training, Cui Xinze finally achieved "the welding torch in hand, stays still", and gnawed the hard bone of "high-precision operation".

  “For recruits, it is more difficult to overcome mental loneliness and boring daily life than to overcome physical pain.” said Zhao Weiqiang, the squad leader of the third squadron’s cooking squad, who has been in the pipeline for 10 years. “When I first came to the army, the weather was good. I followed the line when the weather was bad, and learned theoretical knowledge in the house when the weather was bad. I gradually learned about the glorious history and tradition of the brigade, realized my responsibilities and mission, and gradually adapted to the life here."

  For more than 40 years, the officers and soldiers of the Gera Pipeline Brigade have always been on the roof of the world, climbing snow-capped mountains, glacial rivers, and crossing the Gobi.

They put their personal safety aside and demonstrated their military qualities.

  "There is no lack of oxygen on the plateau, but there is no lack of energy. Our brigade was born out of pipelines. It is everyone's mission to stick to this'snow mountain oil dragon' with our lives." Li Mingtao said.

Our reporter Zhou Lin